Rzigalinski then explored the quality of the aged neurons and found they were signaling or "talking" to each other in the same manner as their youthful counterparts. "This shows there is a potential not just to extend the life span but to preserve function," she said.
Seal has worked on developing oxide particles for high temperature production since his undergraduate days in the late 1980s. In 2000, as he took over the coordination of UCF's nanotechnology initiative, he and a student developed ultrafine nano-sized powders and solutions. The particles, less than 10 nanometers (about 30 atoms) in size, not only offered a more efficient coating for use in machines but also opened the door for biological studies in collaboration with Rzigalinski.
When a university research administrator aware of the work of each scientist introduced the two, the possibilities immediately began forming. "This type of cross-disciplinary partnership is what we dream about," said Pallavoor Vaidyanathan, assistant vice president for research. It is also critical to forging frontiers in nanoscience.
Research in the medical profession suggests that a major component of aging is free radical damage to cells. Free radical scavengers, often taken in the form of vitamins, can counter the damage to a very limited degree. A regenerative nanoparticle, such as the one developed by Rzigalinski and Seal, offers promise of negating those problems and could be helpful in treatment of certain age-related disorders -- such as Alzheimer's disease -- as well as arthritis and other joint-related problems, Rzigalinski says.
Most recently, the Rzigalinski lab has found that the nanoparticles have potent anti-inflammatory properties. The investigators plan to explore the possibility of creating a coating from the particles that could be used for vascular and orthopedic implants,
Contact: Barb Abney
University of Central Florida